Employees brand ambassadors. Marketing and advertising are at the heart of business success. Traditionally, companies relied on celebrity branding and conventional marketing strategies, but despite their efforts employee engagement has been stagnant for several years. A Gallup study measured global engagement levels at only 13 percent, so it seems clear that old methods are no longer productive and businesses need to adopt a new approach towards branding strategy. Enter employee ambassadorship, an efficient technique that has multiple advantages and is easy to implement.
A motivated workforce translates into higher productivity, better reputation, and can boost a company’s bottom line. Staff ambassadorship programmes complement traditional marketing efforts and help build a strong brand name using modern communication channels. The fact that many employee ambassadorship initiatives take place online is not random: trust barometers indicate that customers perceive staff as more trustworthy than corporate marketing, and a brand ambassador is usually given more credibility and authenticity than organisations, as customers can identify with them at a more personal level.
What’s more, a study revealed that more than 60 percent of customers surveyed believed corporate social media are more credible than traditional marketing messages. Similarly, a report showed that content shared using employees own social networks generates engagement levels eight times higher than corporate profiles.
In addition to coming across as more genuine, the benefits of developing an online employee ambassadorship programme include reduced costs and increased ROI. For example, research has shown that a programme involving 1,000 employees can generate nearly $2m in advertising value, and conversion rates are up to 7 times higher if the call-to-action originates from an employee social marketing programme. And by using these programmes, businesses can reach a wider audience and connect with customers that would not be achieved through traditional methods.
Staff also benefit from participating, as they can widen their professional network, gain valuable skills that are in high demand, and find new career opportunities. Lastly, businesses are more likely to enjoy higher retention rates and are more efficient at change management strategies that allow them to adapt their approach to the changing needs of the market.
Designing a brand ambassador programme is a crucial strategy to turn employees into brand advocates. Such initiatives can be used to publicise products, services, vacancies, or events. But for employee engagement to happen, companies need a change of perspective: in these programmes, the focus is not on products or services, but rather on staff, which are seen as the organisation’s most important asset.
Some elements of a staff ambassador programme include:
Motivated employees are a company’s best resource, mainly when they are inspired to use trusted channels to reach an audience and deliver a powerful message that reinforces the key values of a company and its brand. Creating an online ambassadorship programme that champions brand values can help make engagement an integral part of corporate culture and result in quantifiable benefits for business owners and staff alike.